How Antique Dealers Designed a Home Around Shade-Changing Paint

Produced by Robert Rufino, Sara Rodrigues
·3 min read
Photo credit: Bjorn Wallander
Photo credit: Bjorn Wallander

“We can’t help but be influenced by all that we see: the architecture of whatever city we’re in, the hotels, the restaurants, all of it,” says antiques dealer Stephen Abeles. He and his partner, Ray Attanasio, typically spend half the year in Europe sourcing pieces for their New York–based shop, Balsamo. But back home in Manhattan, their classic East Side apartment, first decorated in 2012, was due for an update.

So they gave it the grand tour treatment. “All the exteriors of the buildings and a lot of the interiors are very dark brown or dark grayish brown,” says Attanasio of Amsterdam, the city that inspired the apartment’s new moody palette. The walls, formerly white, were coated in a greige Keim mineral paint. “It has a crushed sand in it, so the color changes depending on how the light hits it,” Attanasio explains. To let more of that transformative light into the interior rooms, custom transom-height steel doors replaced the low open doorways.

Left: Lighting: vintage. Paintings: Herve Thibault, Salvador Dali, Robert Laughlin. Paint: Donald Kaufman no. 68, no. 67 (millwork). Right: Fixtures: Rohl. Marble: SMC Brooklyn. Lighting: vintage. Medicine Cabinet: Restoration Hardware.

Photo credit: Manu Rodriguez
Photo credit: Manu Rodriguez

A crisp high gloss lends contrast to the breakfast nook, where an L-shaped Gustavian banquette is upholstered in a menswear wool—a combo that calls back to The Dylan, the Dutch hotel the couple has frequented more than 50 times. And the kitchen floor? “It’s actually 19th-century French tile, from a favorite hotel in France, La Mirande,” Attanasio says. “It kind of helps us feel like we’re still in that hotel.”

The bedroom, upholstered in brown wool herringbone, exudes a certain warmth that its previous black-and-white iteration desperately lacked. The inspiration here, according to Attanasio? “I think I once had a suit like that.”

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Living Room

Photo credit: Bjorn Wallander
Photo credit: Bjorn Wallander

Antiques collected by designers Stephen Abeles and Ray Attanasio find a new home in their New York City apartment. Console: vintage Flemish library table, Balsamo. Table lamp: Francine Villiers-Levy. Painting: Santiago Castillo (abstract in white frame).

Photo credit: Bjorn Wallander
Photo credit: Bjorn Wallander

Console: vintage Flemish library table, Balsamo. Table lamp: Francine Villiers-Levy. Statue: 18th century, from an opera house in Genoa, Italy. Painting: (far left) Santiago Castillo in vintage Duarte Pinto Coelho pine frame.

Photo credit: Bjorn Wallander
Photo credit: Bjorn Wallander

Custom steel doors by Soraya Osorio Ltd. allow extra light inside. Wall paint: mineral paint in 9008 by Keim. Chandelier and sconces: midcentury. Wing chair: 19th-century English reproduction in pig suede, Balsamo. Glass tables: vintage reproduction, Balsamo. Rug: custom, Doris Leslie Blau.

Breakfast Nook

Photo credit: Bjorn Wallander
Photo credit: Bjorn Wallander

Suspended in front of a Thomas Jorion photograph of a ruinous stairwell, this 19th-century French wrought-iron garden lantern creates an optical illusion. Wall paint: 9008 in high gloss by Keim. Settee: 18th-century Gustavian, in Paul Smith menswear stripe fabric. Iron table: midcentury, Balsamo.

Kitchen

Photo credit: Bjorn Wallander
Photo credit: Bjorn Wallander

Open shelving displays antiques. Floor tile: antique French. Wall paint: Skimming Stone by Farrow & Ball. Cabinet paint: black by Fine Paints of Europe. Appliances: Wolf. Countertop: Carrara marble, SMC Stone. Subway tile: Ann
Sacks. Faucet: Rohl.

Bedroom

A bespoke bed frame echoes the look of the ceiling beams at Amsterdam’s Dylan Hotel. Bed: custom John Goudreault in high-gloss black by Fine Paints of Europe. Table lamps: midcentury French, Balsamo. Side tables: Anthony Redmile, Balsamo. Painting: Jean-Marc Louis.

Bobbin chair: vintage English, Balsamo. Rug: custom, Doris Leslie
Blau. Cabinetry paint: DKC-68 by Donald Kaufman Color.

Bedroom Sitting Area

Photo credit: Bjorn Wallander
Photo credit: Bjorn Wallander

Walls upholstered in a Phillip Jeffries wool herringbone fabric warm up the intimate space. Chairs: vintage English, in Romo twill. Table: vintage. Paintings: Santiago Castillo (gold frame), Jean-Marc Louis. Floor lamp: vintage Valenti.

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